Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Make Mine a Malden

David Carradine
Ed McMahon
Farah Fawcett
Michael Jackson
Billy Mays

What do they have in common, besides taking a dirt nap?

All together their talents and humanities add up to what Karl Malden had in his pinkie.

Honestly, I was surprised he was still with us until I read that he died at 97. The obits will talk of all his great roles, but the one I liked best was as the star of an ill-fated one-season TV drama called "Kaz," in which he played a steelworker.

He actually won an Oscar as supporting actor in a movie "Streetcar Named Desire" that everyone thought Marlon Brando would win "best actor" for. But Brando, much more famous, lost that year to Humphrey Bogart, no slouch.

In "On the Waterfront," Malden was part of a stellllllaaaar ensemble that including one of my favorite actresses Eva Marie (is she still alive?) Saint.

What gave him gravitas as an actor was the fact that he did not look like a leading man, and he never really was. He looked like anybody you might know, especially if his name were Mladen Sekulovich. But he could act, and the obits say his preparation for a role was legendary. In fact, he never left home without it.

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